Belfast bar owner caught speeding at 101mph said he was 'distracted' because of impact of pandemic on his businesses

Belfast bar owner caught speeding at 101mph said he was 'distracted' because of impact of pandemic on his businesses

A BAR owner from Belfast, who has been banned from driving, after being caught doing 101mph in a Range Rover Sport vehicle told a court he had been "distracted" at the time because of the impact the pandemic was having on his businesses.

Mark Beirne (49), of Deramore Park, appeared at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday and admitted exceeding a 70mph speed limit at the M2 motorway near Antrim town on April 11 this year.

The defendant, who was self-represented in court, said he previously had six penalty points on his licence.

A prosecutor said the offence came to light at 5pm on the date in question and the vehicle was then stopped by police.

The defendant said he wished to apologise to the court.

He told the court he is involved with a number of bars in the hospitality industry and at the time of the offence had been under  "high pressure".

The defendant said running bar businesses during the pandemic had led him to be "distracted".

He said he recently sold the Range Rover Sport as it was "far too fast, too powerful".

He told the court the previous penalty points were for absence of a seat belt and for doing "43 in a 30".

In relation to the 101mph case before the court, District Judge Nigel Broderick said his "starting point" for such a speed would normally be a three months ban but said he would take into account the guilty plea and the defendant's personal circumstances.

He added: "I do take a very firm view about people who speed at this speed because the obvious reason is that it increases the risk of an accident and thereafter serious injury or,God forbid, a fatality".

The defendant was banned from driving for one month and fined £200.

He had £500 bail fixed for appeal and is allowed to drive in the mean time.